He would spend 12 years in a windowless, 8-by-12-foot cell in California's harshest prison, Pelican Bay.
He would be transported to a Los Angeles courtroom with a steel box over his handcuffs and a hood over his head -- to be tried in one of the largest death-penalty cases in U.S. history.
In a physical exile, they would share the closest of bonds. Their correspondence would fill boxes, and they would chat on a prison phone through bulletproof glass for hours at a time.
She would not only stand by Robert, she would embark on a two-decade legal quest to get him out.
"If you both keep these vows, your home will be happy and full of joy," Wipf said that day in the prison yard.
Robert put a gold band on her finger. A friend in the prison crafts shop had made it, inscribing runic symbols for "DM" and "DB," Dragon Man and Dragon Bait.
"With this ring, I thee wed," Robert said.
There was a kiss, but no dancing or cake. For her wedding night, she drove back down U.S. 50 to her apartment, made dinner and went to bed alone.
Pam came from a tight-knit Methodist family in Shawnee, Kan. Her father, Skip, was a heavy-equipment operator with a quirky independent streak Pam admired.
As a child, she got good grades and blended in. She loved to play the piano and read. But her inward, watchful way guarded an adventurous soul. When Pam followed a boyfriend to Kansas State in 1968, she sparked at the flux of ideas and unconventional personalities.
She was drawn to people who were different. She loved to debate a wannabe Black Panther in her dorm just to hear his ideas. But her interest in classes was haphazard, and she dropped out after her second year. She took a job at a bar and wondered where circumstances would take her next.
One night at the bar, she met Gerry Griffin, a soldier from nearby Ft. Riley just back from Vietnam. She wore no shoes on their first date, then beat him at a game of pool. He was irked, but asked her out again. Soon he asked if she wanted to move to California. She said sure.
They moved into a duplex in Laguna Beach, and Pam took a job cleaning rooms at the Saddleback Inn. Gerry's family lived in a ranch home in Anaheim, and Pam's buoyant presence was warmly welcomed into it.
His father, Tug, was a railroad engineer and union leader from East Texas. He was clever, funny, bull-headed -- and kept in check by Gerry's equally assertive mother, Donna.
Family get-togethers burst with fiddles and guitars, singing and plenty of embellished stories. Pam played the piano.
In quieter moments, the family reminisced or complained about Gerry's younger brother, who was in state prison for an armed robbery.
His name was Robert.